Mark 10 - The New Sheriff Needs Deputies

Jesus has taken the disciples north of Israel.
Peter has given his great confession of Jesus.

Jesus tells the disciples for the first time that He must suffer and die.

He then issues the challenge that to follow Him you must pick up your cross [be sentenced to die in the Roman world] and lose your life.

Jesus takes Peter, James and John up the mountain where they witness the glory of God coming on Jesus...and see Moses and Elijah.

Now they are their way to Jerusalem.
Jesus has decided it is time to face the religious leaders. I called it like the great showdown of Wyatt Earp at the OK Corral.

He gives the disciples another clear message:
10:33 We are going up to Jerusalem... and the Son of Man will be delivered over to the chief priests and the teachers of the law. They will condemn him to death and will hand him over to the Gentiles, 34 who will mock him and spit on him, flog him and kill him. Three days later he will rise.

35 Then James and John, the sons of Zebedee, came to him...
Teacher," they said, "we want you to do for us whatever we ask."

37 "Let one of us sit at your right side and the other at your left side in your glory."

38 "You do not know what you are asking," Jesus said. "Can you drink the cup I drink or be baptized with the same baptism that I must have?"

39 "We can," they answered.
Jesus said to them,
"You will drink the cup I drink and you will be baptized with the same baptism...

40 but to sit at my right or left side is not for me to grant. These places belong to those for whom they have been prepared."

We see in several places in the gospels where the disciples did not seem to understand what Jesus was saying.

We like to think that we would have been different.
We have the benefit of living long after the fact and knowing the story through the end, through Easter Sunday resurrection...

through the ascension...
through the Day of Pentecost...

It appears to me that this is one of those moments where the disciples cannot fathom what Jesus is saying.

It goes against everything they have always heard.

Messiah is going to come back as a mighty Joshua (oh wait, that is the name of Jesus). He is Yeshua, a deritive of Joshua.

Messiah will come back leading an army and will deal with God's enemies.

First century Jews thought of Messiah as the one who would throw off Roman control of their land. We have seen that the Romans split Palestine into several provinces. That alone angers the Jews.

I have always read this text where James and John are asking Jesus if they could sit at His side to be arrogant.

We see in the following verses that the other disciples are unhappy with the two men for asking this of Jesus.

James and John, the sons of Zebedee.
What was their nickname?

Does anyone remember why this might be their nickname?

Well, Luke records that on this journey down to Jerusalem the Samaritans are not hospitable to Jesus. James are John want to call down fire from heaven to kill them.

I am beginning to think James and John (and probably all of the disciples) are thinking that Jesus is speaking in some kind of parable when He says "they will kill the Son of Man but He will rise from the dead."

It seems obvious to us, but again, we have the benefit of knowing history.

In Mark 9 the text says,
9 As they were coming down the mountain, Jesus gave them orders not to tell anyone what they had seen until the Son of Man had risen from the dead. 10 They kept the matter to themselves, discussing what "rising from the dead" meant.

After James and John ask about being at the side of Jesus Mark records Jesus telling his disciples,
"Look, the rulers of the Gentiles lord their power over the people...Not so with you. Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant."

In this same timeframe in Luke's gospel, the text says that the disciples were arguing about which of them would be the greatest.

The first time Jesus sits a little child in front of them.

Luke records another account of the disciples arguing about who is the greatest at the Last Supper when Jesus gives this same response about how the Gentiles rule.

My point here is that I do not think the disciples are arguing about who is more spiritual.

I think the disciples do not understand Jesus when He says He will die and rise again - the text plainly tells us this -

Again, I think they believe Jesus is speaking in a parable of some kind.

But I think the disciples, especially James and John, are thinking in terms of the mighty men of David.

They want to be like Joab, King David's General.
They think Jesus is about to take on the Romans.

I think James and John, the sons of thunder...who want to call down fire from heaven are thinking if you are taking on the Romans...we want some of that!

I think the disciples, when they argue about who is the greatest are thinking in "Old Testament" terms and who will fight with Jesus to be great.

Now, in a way none of that matters.
The response of Jesus is what I want to focus on for a few minutes for our sakes.

Jesus plainly says that if you want to be will the will be the slave of everyone else.

This is a call to service.

Serve your brother and sister in the faith.

Serve non-believers around you.

Serve those you work with.
I have always taught that Christians should work the hardest on the the best employees...and show the most loyalty to their boss.

We are building a community church...a congregational church.

This means that our Leadership is not supposed to sit back and tell everybody what to do. I certainly do not want to do that.

Jesus is saying...and I am modifying His words for us: Our Leadership should lead by example.

If you see a need - just do it.
At least ask somebody if it needs to be done.

Many of us want to make many changes around here, but we are waiting either for the finances...or to gain enough consensus.

In my three years here I have had several people come to me asking me to make changes...or to do something.

I am not going to "lord it over" this church.

We want to grow. And growth means change.
You cannot grow without change.

But Christian greatness begins with making yourself a servant. Seeing the needs of others and doing something to help.

Let's be servants.



Troy Community Church

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Troy Community Church
Christian Fellowship
1300 Henderson Highway
Troy, AL 36079